Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts had both hoped he would play his entire NFL career with that franchise.
It won’t be happening.
What was speculated about for months will become official Wednesday when the Colts officially part ways with their future Hall of Fame quarterback. FOXSports.com has confirmed that Manning will be released, ending his storied 14-year tenure with the club.
FOXSports.com NFL insider Jay Glazer reported that Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay will conduct a joint news conference Wednesday in Indianapolis. The tone is intended as a farewell tribute to Manning, whom Irsay has long championed as a close friend as well as Colts star. The news conference will be held at noon ET, according to NFL.com.
The news of Manning’ imminent release was first reported by ESPN.
The Colts were unable to reach a restructured contract with Manning that would have kept the franchise from having to pay a $28 million roster bonus that was due Thursday. The Colts are uncertain about Manning’s NFL future after four neck surgeries in a 19-month span. They also are set to draft Manning’s heir apparent — Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — with the first pick in April’s draft.
Manning, who will turn 36 on March 24, is vigorously rehabbing in hopes of resuming his NFL career. Teams who could be in the bidding for his services include Miami, Washington, Kansas City, Arizona and Seattle.
Once released from his contract, Manning will be able to immediately sign with another franchise.
The Colts signed Manning to a five-year, $90 million contract extension last July in hopes that he would finish his playing days in Indianapolis. Manning, though, was forced to miss the entire season because of neck surgery. The Colts finished with the NFL’s worst record at 2-14. That put the club in position to draft Luck, who is the most highly touted college quarterback since Manning was the first overall pick in 1998.
Manning has more than lived up to his lofty draft standing. He led the 2006 Colts to a Super Bowl XLI victory over Chicago and was named Most Valuable Player for his 247-yard, one-touchdown performance. Manning also helped guide the 2009 Colts to Super Bowl XLIV, but they were defeated by New Orleans.
Manning was named the league’s MVP four times by Associated Press voters. He has reached 11 Pro Bowls and is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 50,000 passing yards. Manning had never missed an NFL start until last season.
Manning’s release is part of the rebuilding project in Indianapolis. The Colts will enter the 2012 season with a new head coach (Chuck Pagano) and general manager (Ryan Grigson) and are expected to also part ways with other mainstays like center Jeff Saturday and wide receiver Reggie Wayne.